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Chunky Monkey

"Chunky Monkey" isn't dark enough to really get under the viewer's skin nor consistently funny enough to work as over-the-top entertainment. First feature by former actor Greg Cruttwell, shot three years ago for $290,000 but delayed by threatened litigation from three separate parties, has been getting occasional late November London playdates.

With:
With: David Threlfall, Alison Steadman, Nicola Stapleton, David Schofield, Colin McFarlane, Danny Nussbaum, Stephen Mangan, Elizabeth Woodcock.

A black comedy whose satirical reach largely exceeds its written grasp, “Chunky Monkey” isn’t dark enough to really get under the viewer’s skin nor consistently funny enough to work as over-the-top entertainment. First feature by former actor Greg Cruttwell, shot three years ago for £160,000 ($290,000) but delayed by threatened litigation from three separate parties, has been getting occasional late November London playdates.

A psychotic nerd, Donald (David Threlfall), keeps getting interrupted one evening by other wackos while waiting to fulfil his ultimate fantasy — anal intercourse with a certain “Julie Andrews,” the latter smeared with the titular ice cream and singing “The hills are alive.” Visitors include skinhead Christians (Nicola Stapleton, Danny Nussbaum), an Afro Jesus figure (Colin McFarlane) who can walk on water, and a nutty neighbor (Alison Steadman). Donald, meanwhile, has the chopped-up body of an Indian restaurateur in his icebox, so things finally turn bloody. Entirely set in a single apartment, this could make a reasonable off-off play, but despite agile camerawork and editing, plus robust perfs, the dialogue-heavy pic rarely takes off as black farce. DV-to-film transfer is good.

Chunky Monkey

U.K.

Production: A Hand Gear Films presentation, in association with ScreenProjex , of an Open Road Films production, in association with Jennings & Varma. (International sales: ScreenProjex, London.) Produced by Phil Hunt. Executive producer, Anil Varma. Co-producer, Andrew Holmes. Directed, written by Greg Cruttwell.

Crew: Camera (color, Sony HiDef 60i-to-35mm), Sean Bobbitt; editor, Nick Follows; music, Tom Windriff; production designer, Charlie Tymms; art director, Ed King; costume designer, Emma Williams. Reviewed at the Soho Screening Rooms, London, Nov. 11, 2004. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: David Threlfall, Alison Steadman, Nicola Stapleton, David Schofield, Colin McFarlane, Danny Nussbaum, Stephen Mangan, Elizabeth Woodcock.

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